On Thursday, President Trump was asked about reports that special counsel Robert Mueller wants to interview him as part of his probe into alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government. That probe has morphed into what looks more and more like an obstruction investigation, in which Mueller prepares to accuse Trump personally of blackballing former FBI Director James Comey in order to prevent a full investigation into former National Security Advisor Mike Flynn.
Trump told the press, “There’s been no collusion whatsoever. There’s no obstruction whatsoever. And I’m looking forward to it.” He followed up: “You fight back, oh, it’s obstruction.” He continued, “You know, again, I have to say, subject to my lawyers and all of that, but I would love to do it.”
Then Trump dropped the hammer: “Did Hillary do it under oath?” When a reporter replied that he had no idea, Trump responded, “I think you have an idea. Do you not have an idea. Do you really not have an idea? I’ll give you an idea: she didn’t do it under oath. But I would do it under oath.”
Now, the truth is that Hillary Clinton could have been found guilty of lying to the FBI whether or not she testified under oath. But she had already been exonerated by James Comey and company before she even gave a voluntary statement, so the point is somewhat irrelevant.
So, is it a good idea for Trump to talk to the FBI? Obviously, it isn’t. And Trump’s lawyers will probably tell him so: they’ll push instead for a submission of a written questionnaire. They’d be fools to let Trump talk to the FBI, which essentially trapped Flynn into making false statements regarding events that had nothing to do with election collusion with Russia, then used those statements to force him into a plea deal. And Trump has a long history of making bombastic statements. Those statements could create a legal problem for him: even Bill Clinton, a far more accomplished legal mind, ended up on the wrong side of a perjury charge after speaking before a grand jury.
But Trump doesn’t sound like someone who has much to hide with regard to Trump-Russia collusion. By the same token, he doesn’t seem to understand the peril of the obstruction case Mueller is building against him; he probably figures there’s no underlying crime, so what the hell difference does it make if he fired James Comey for failing to say just that?
Still, Trump would be foolish to rely on the inherent sanctity of Robert Mueller to guard him against perjury traps. He should stay away — far, far away — from this probe and let his lawyers do the talking. Any decent lawyer will tell Trump the same.